I'm 32, make $59k annually, live in the rural northeast US, and work in logistics
Preface: please be kind! I am aware that I am “Money Diaries poor”, and by that I mean I’m not living in poverty, but compared to most people here and on R29, I’m doing poorly, especially for my age. I’ve had no financial assistance from my parents/family at any point in my life. I don’t think my life is hard by any means, but I know I’m not doing well.
I apologize in advance for both length and for being vague about some details, I’m terrified of being identified on here. Also, I am extremely boring. Sorry about that.
Section One: Assets & Debt
Equity if you're a homeowner (and how much you put down and how you accumulated that payment): n/a
My husband (32M) and I have joint checking and savings accounts.
Savings account balance: $1720
Checking account balance: $970
Credit card debt: ~$10k. A combination of car repairs and significant healthcare expenses while not having real health insurance. My husband had to have extensive dental work done, and I had some issues with my lower back that I couldn’t ignore anymore and required physical therapy.
Student loan debt: $17k for my BS, which I finished last summer. Husband didn’t go to college.
Section Two: Income
I was a banquet server and worked at a café during my teens/ early 20s. There were a lot of variables re: how much I took home, and I honestly don't remember now.
First job, 2012, age 23 - $12/hour as an Executive Assistant
Same company, 2013, age 24 – promoted to Account Executive, $14/hour. I did not want this job, but I couldn’t say no to more money.
In 2015, the company I worked for was bought out, and I moved into a different role. It’s pretty specific, so I don’t want to say exactly what it was, but when I left the company in 2017 I made $15.90/hour.
2017, age 28 – purchasing/ logistics for a food supplier, $17/hour.
Early 2018, age 29 – new job in customer service for a manufacturer, $19/hour.
Summer 2018 – new job, $26/hour. I am currently still employed here, and I make $28/hour. Again, I don’t want to be too specific, but my current job is in STEM.
Main Job Monthly Take Home:
$3,250 monthly. ~$75 per week for my super mega bummer health insurance, which I just got this past summer. Includes dental and vision, but doesn’t cover much. Currently no 401k contributions for either of us because our companies don’t offer it.
Husband works part time (~30 hours per week) and takes home between $500-$600 every 2 weeks.
Section Three: Expenses
Rent: We pay $800, our roommate pays $400, for a two bedroom apartment. Note: our roommate just moved in last month. A close friend was in need and we had a spare room, so it worked out for all of us. Ideally I’d like to put the money we're saving on rent toward credit card debt.
Savings contribution: $20/week. I contribute more if I can.
Debt payments: We have two credit cards, one joint card and one that’s just mine (got it before we were together.) The minimum for each card is ~$150. I try to pay more than that, but I am not always able to.
Electric: varies. It’s ~$100-$200ish during the summer when we run the air conditioners, less in the winter.
Heating oil: again, varies. In the winter it’s ~$200-$300 every couple of months or so, but it varies depending on how cold it is and the price of heating oil.
Cell phones: $160
Subscriptions: $6.99 for Hulu, $15 for Spotify
Gym membership: $50 (for both of us). I usually also pay for my work gym, which is $30 per month, but that’s on hold until I’m back in the office. I know it’s dumb to have two gym memberships, but the convenience of being able to work out during lunch is worth it to me.
Car payment/insurance: My car payment and insurance is $415 total. Husband’s is about the same. I loathe having a car payment, but I’ve never been able to save enough to pay for a car outright without financing, and I’d rather drive a decent, reliable car than a beater that needs repairs constantly – I bought my car 3.5 years ago and it hasn’t needed a single repair (knock on wood!). Yes, we both need cars. There is no reliable public transportation in my area. If there was, I would absolutely be taking advantage of it.
Was there an expectation for you to attend higher education? Did you participate in any form of higher education? If yes, how did you pay for it?
No. My parents were open about the fact that they thought college was a waste of money. They both did okay with only high school diplomas, so they didn’t see why I couldn’t do the same. I wasn’t allowed to apply to any colleges, and when I graduated I had the disadvantages still being 17 and also already having a pretty significant amount of financial responsibility. My mothers & stepfather reluctantly allowed me to sign up for community college. I worked full time hours doing banquet serving while I went to school. I couldn’t afford to pursue a Bachelor’s degree when I finished my Associate’s degree, so I found my first full time office job. I completed my BS last summer at age 30, and for that I took out student loans.
Growing up, what kind of conversations did you have about money? Did your parent/guardian(s) educate you about finances?
My mom made sure I know how to write a check, balance a checkbook, and pay bills while I was in high school, but they didn't talk to me specifically about their own finances. I knew that they had a lot of credit card debt, which was something I'd tried to avoid, but obviously that didn't work out so well for me.
What was your first job and why did you get it? I got a job at a café when I was 16 because my parents wanted to me to start paying rent and for my share of bills and household expenses. I also needed to be able to put gas in my car, pay for car insurance, etc.
Did you worry about money growing up? Not until my parents started asking me for money when I was around 15. After that it was a constant struggle to figure out how to make as much money as I could as quickly as possible.
Do you worry about money now? Constantly.
At what age did you become financially responsible for yourself and do you have a financial safety net? I do not have a safety net, and I’m not sure what I’d consider the age I became financially independent. I’ve been paying bills and my share of rent and other household expenses since I was 16, but that seems young.
Do you or have you ever received passive or inherited income? If yes, please explain. No.
Day 1 – Friday, October 30
710am: Alarm goes off. I hit snooze.
730am: Alarm goes off again, this time with help from my alarm cats. My husband, who I will refer to as H, goes to take a shower and get ready to leave for work, and I turn on my laptop to start work. After he leaves, I make my usual breakfast (english muffin w/ butter, stok cold brew iced coffee).
830am: I quickly check my gym’s website to see if I can schedule time for today. I would much rather go for a run outside, but it’s raining and snowing basically just kinda shitty outside. I make a reservation for late morning and get back to work.
11am: I take a break from work after a busy morning to brave the snow and hit the gym. I know lots of people will complain about snow in October, but I’m kind of excited to break out my cozy winter sweaters. At the gym I use the indoor rower and do a Stephanie Sanzo Lifting at Home workout via the SWEAT app. I currently have a free trial for SWEAT but I’m seriously considering paying for a year subscription because I like it so much, and because I suspect that I’ll be spending more time in the gym as it gets coldemore winter-y outside.
1215pm: Back home. I shovel our deck stairs and put down salt. Then I check my work email, take care of a few things, and take a quick shower before getting back to work to work for the rest of the afternoon. At some point H texts me to tell me that he made a $10 donation to Biden/Harris. We’ve made several donations over the last couple of months, but I suspect that this’ll be our last one. $10
1pm: I make oatmeal for lunch. As you’ll see, I hate cooking, so most of my meals are kind of sad unless someone else is preparing them. I also decide to get “dressed,” and by dressed I mean I put on a normal sweater instead of a pajama shirt, and a bra. I’ve been working from home since March, and I find that I feel so much more like a productive human when at least my top half is dressed. The bottom half is still perfectly content to remain in sweats or yoga pants all day. 😊
5pm: The afternoon is a blur of work busyness. So glad to be done for the weekend! My group at work had a couple of people out of the office this week, so it was crazy busy, and the next 2 weeks will be the same, so I’m ready to take the weekend to relax and recharge. H and our roommate, B, come home, and we make homemade pizza with cheese, mushroom, and spinach for dinner. After dinner I read and end up finishing my book (All The Light We Cannot See).
12am: For some reason I’m not super tired, which is weird because usually I’m the most tired on Friday nights, especially after a busy week. H and I stay up and talk and hang out, and we turn off the lights for bed around 1230am.
Daily total: $10
Day 2 – Saturday, October 31
750am: I get up with H when his alarm goes off. He gets ready for work. I make his lunch for him, and after he leaves I eat my english muffin and drink coffee, and browse reddit. Not the most productive morning, but whatever.
1140am: I go out for a run. I expect it to be cold because it’s under 40°F, but it’s quite nice. When I finish, I take a nice long shower and eat an Amy’s frozen burrito for lunch.
230pm: I take a quick ride to the library to drop off a book and pick up two books I had on hold.
530pm: H is home from work. We discuss dinner plans with B. I am super craving chinese food and have been for weeks, so I decide to finally indulge and we order takeout. 100% worth it. After dinner I start one of the books I picked up from the library (On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous). $25
730pm: H and I watch a movie (virtually) with friends via Discord. I can't remember the name of the movie. It was supposed to be a scary halloween movie, but it was super low budget and weird. I get bored/ distracted and spend time making playlists on spotify because I have the attention span of a child.
915pm: I eat too many peanut butter cookies, read some more, and go to bed around 11pm.
Daily total: $25
Day 3 – Sunday, November 1
7am: I wake up to pee, then lay back in bed for awhile scrolling through my phone. I don’t use any social media so it’s basically just reddit. Also I somehow forgot about daylight savings and am very confused when I look at the clock.
830am: We get up and make fried dough for breakfast with B because #healthyliving. H has the day off. It’s always nice when we get a day off together. We spend some time this morning cleaning and tidying up the apartment.
230pm: I go drop off our rent check at our landlord’s house (side note, does anyone else have to drop off their checks? I find it super annoying, and everyone else I know who rents tells me that their landlord picks up the check from them). I also go to the grocery store. My list includes but is not limited to: bananas, spinach, broccoli, hot sauce, salad dressing, english muffins, iced tea, diet coke, gatorade, shampoo, and lunch stuff for H. Basically just a general restock of our grocery essentials. $89.80
6pm: We make dinner (chicken cutlets, roasted broccoli, and potatoes). After dinner I read and watch Gilmore Girls on Netflix, and go to bed around 11pm.
Daily total: $89.80
Day 4 – Monday, November 2
715am: I wake up, pour myself an iced coffee, and start my work day. H gets up soon after I do. I make his lunch for him and he goes to work (B goes to work really early, so she’s never home when we wake up). Later in the morning I eat my usual english muffin for breakfast.
130pm: The morning goes by way too fast. Work is super busy. In between work, I do a load of laundry, and load/run the dishwasher. I eat a salad for lunch. No time for exercise today.
630pm: H and B are both home from work. We make panko breaded chicken tenders, rice, and more broccoli for dinner.
10pm: H and I decide to go to bed early - who knows how much sleep we're going to get tomorrow night. I read for a bit before lights out.
Daily total: $0
Day 5 – Tuesday, November 3
630am: holy crap it's election day. I’ve been waiting for today for 4 years. I am anxiety. H and I voted by mail a couple of weeks ago, so I don’t actually have to go vote. My morning is pretty typical – work, coffee, breakfast. Later in the morning, I go for a jog and take a shower.
1230pm: I eat an Amy’s frozen bean, cheese, & rice burrito for lunch and keep working. I’m happy to have the distraction of work today. I briefly considered taking today off, and I'm really glad I didn't. Later in the afternoon, I have a training for work, which takes up a good chunk of the afternoon. At some point today, H puts gas in his car. $28.51
5pm: H is home. Neither of us feel like cooking. One of my weaknesses when it comes to saving money is that I haaaate cooking, so 99% of the time if given the choice I’ll choose to order takeout instead of going to the grocery store and cooking at home. I’m working on it. Tonight, though, we get fast food. $21.57
1030pm: We decide not to stare at the news all night and go to bed. I take two tylenol PM and fall asleep pretty easily.
Daily total: $50.08
Day 6 – Wednesday, November 4
7am: I expect to wake up to Donald Trump remaining as president for the next 4 years, but I am very pleasantly surprised. I try not to feel too hopeful and go about my morning as usual.
11am: I go for a jog, shower, and make oatmeal for lunch. Super exciting, I know. H is off work today, and we periodically chat about everything going on. It's nice having company (other than my cats) while I work.
1pm: H gets a phone call from work – the company he’s worked at for the last 2 years is closing due to COVID. They'll be closed for good by the end of 2020. Finances will be tight, but he'll be able to collect, and hopefully he'll find a decent full time position.
6pm: B comes home in the early afternoon, and we all make paninis for dinner. I put turkey, cheese, and pesto on mine. It comes out sooo good.
1030pm: I stay up later than I planned to stress eating snacks and reading. I finish my book go to bed around midnight.
Daily total: $0
Day 7 – Thursday, November 5
715am: Wake up and immediately check election results. No change. Sigh. I do my usual routine - work, coffee, breakfast.
1030am: I go for my run, shower, and get back to work. It's really busy and honestly I don't have the time or mental capacity to worry about anything else while I'm working, which is kind of nice right now.
4pm: I go to the grocery store to restock on some stuff, and stop at the library again to pick up some books (contact free). $52.41
9pm: Typical evening - dinner, reading, stalking election results. Bedtime around 11pm.
Daily total: $52.41
Weekly totals: $227.29
Food & drink: $188.78
Home & health: $0
Clothes & beauty: $0
Fun & entertainment: $0
Reflections: This was a pretty typical week. I was boring before COVID, and COVID has somehow made me even more boring. I've lost touch with the few friends I had over the last few months, which sucks, and making friends as an adult was already hard, I can't imagine how it's going to be now. I've never had an active social life because I'm extremely introverted and have always preferred books and pets over (most) people, and left to my own devices I could probably go weeks without seeing anyone other than my husband and be okay with it. Money wise, I have a lot of work to do, and if I think about it too much I feel really ashamed and stressed and upset, so I try to maintain a level of worry about my finances that doesn't keep me up at night but also isn't too relaxed. Thanks for reading. :)
submitted by icequeenicecream